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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Mississippi


A significant number of those people in Mississippi who are addicted to substances like alcohol or drugs also have a serious mental health disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA), the figure for people with mental disorders who are also addicted to drugs or alcohol could be as high as 50 percent. When addicts are determined to have a serious mental health problem, they are often described informally as dual diagnosis patients. Dual diagnosis treatment in Mississippi is a combination of addiction treatment and treatment for the mental health issue.

Dual diagnosis treatment in Mississippi can be complicated because very often the addiction problem is a direct result of the mental health problem. Addiction often comes about when people start abusing drugs they have been prescribed for symptoms that may have been caused by an underlying mental health problem. In many cases, a person’s mental health problem may remain undiagnosed for many years.

Difficulties in Making a Dual Diagnosis

The primary difficulty is that people who have mental health problems are unaware of the condition. The symptoms associated with many mental health conditions are often indistinguishable from those caused by other illnesses or disorders. For example, people who feel permanently stressed may attribute their problem to work or environmental factors.

If they seek medical help to deal with the stress, they may be prescribed drugs to help them relax. However, the stress may be the result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and patients may have no idea they are suffering from that condition. The trauma that has caused PTSD may have occurred many years beforehand, and the patients may have no recollection of it.

If the PTSD remains undiagnosed and untreated, the medications offered to relieve stress are not going to help in the long-term. However, people who are prescribed relaxants may start taking more than the prescribed dose to alleviate their stress, and this is a dangerous road that often leads to addiction. SAMHSA estimates that just 7.4 percent of people who have coexistent substance abuse and mental health disorders get treatment for both conditions.

Another factor that can make dual diagnosis difficult is that excessive use of drugs and alcohol can cause psychotic episodes. Medical staff may find it difficult to establish if the psychosis is substance-related or if there is an actual mental illness.

Psychiatric Diagnosis

Because of the high incidence of coexistent addiction and mental health disorders, many doctors now raise the possibility of an underlying mental health problems when patients describe certain symptoms, and they may recommend that patients arrange an appointment for psychiatric evaluation. A diagnosis of mental illness will only be made following extensive testing. Unfortunately, many patients reject the idea that they may have a mental disorder and refuse to get the evaluation done.

Common Coexistent Conditions

When people have mental health disorders, there is often a correlation between the disorder and the substances to which they are addicted. For example, people who have PTSD or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are often addicted to relaxants or barbiturates, while those who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be addicted to both stimulants and relaxants.

ADHD patients often find relief from their condition by taking stimulants. Over time, they develop a tolerance to stimulants and will often increase the amount they take. While this may help them concentrate, it also means they are unable to relax, and they turn to other drugs to achieve relaxation. This starts a vicious circle and they can become addicted to two types of drug.

Alcohol is abused by people with many different mental illnesses.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Inpatient treatment is the most effective for dealing with dual diagnosis patients. Many Mississippi addiction recovery facilities can cater for people who need residential treatment for addiction and mental disorders. Call a specialist today.